One of the highlights from 2016 Olympics was the site of Pita Taufatofua representing Tonga at the opening ceremony. Taufatofua shot to fame in 2016 when he entered the Maracanã Stadium for the Parade of Nations.
He was wearing just a necklace and traditional ta’ovala, a Tongan mat, over his muscled, oiled body.
The 34-year-old represented the tiny South Pacific nation in taekwondo, but was eliminated in his first bout.
Well, now Taufatofua is back – competing in the Winter Games and parading himself topless at the opening ceremony.
— Greg Hogben (@MyDaughtersArmy) February 9, 2018
— Kris Read (@DesignedToFade) February 9, 2018
— Brandon Millman (@BrandonMillman) February 9, 2018
A lover of sport – and perhaps his moment in the spotlight – he decided to set his sights on the Winter Olympics. He managed to qualify in the cross-country skiing category. This was despite the fact he hadn’t actually seen snow until a few months before his announcement.
He put himself through several months of grueling training to bring himself up to Olympic level.
Tonga is a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean and Taufatofua is only the second person from the country to qualify for the Winter Olympics. He lives in Australia and is working towards a master’s degree – when he’s not in training.
Extreme cold in Pyeongchang
The Winter Olympics launch today in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Commentators have expressed some concern that although cold weather is an expectation of the games, current conditions are somewhat extreme.
The BBC reported temperatures could plummet to -25C (-13F) when wind-chill is taken into account. The current temperature in the resort during the Opening Ceremony is -2C (28F).
Here’s hoping Taufatofua can wrap himself up again soon!